Intimacy is a complex concept that can be a bit difficult to describe.
The ultimate expression of intimacy is a mother holding her infant, breastfeeding and stroking the child's hair. It is beautiful beyond description.
Intimacy in an adult, romantic, loving relationship has many ingredients. It incorporates passion, love, closeness, and understanding. Such intimacy implies faithfulness and steadfast commitment to the relationship. There's a great deal more to it than sexual attraction and cohabitation.
Intimacy is a form of enlightenment. Enlightenment comprises many things, but the best way to summarize it might be describing it as clarity of the mind and being present in the moment. It requires work to achieve enlightenment, and the circumstances that change frequently for all of us can be an impediment. We have changes in mood, environment, and the activities that we engage in as we go through life. Such things can distract us from experiencing the present moment in all its fullness.
Love and compassion are foundational building blocks of intimacy. We may struggle with self-love and self-acceptance, and if so we need to work through such issues.
I have put this book together based on an assumption that I have. It is that most of the readers of this book are experiencing a crisis related to a relationship. Some readers may be lonely and wanting to get into a relationship. Others may be desiring to improve their existing relationship to some degree. Some may be in a relationship that's going very badly, and others may be recovering from a breakup.
In the process of considering what intimacy is all about, contemplate your own experience beginning at birth and continuing throughout childhood. When we’re born, we’re immediately very frightened and we cry out for someone to comfort us and care for us. If we were fortunate, we received the love and care that we longed for in the beginning.
For some people, that love and care was the norm. For others it was not. But everyone experienced some degree of relationship difficulties with our mothers and fathers (or primary caregivers). Those difficulties were such that most of us have trapped emotions as a result of them. To achieve intimacy in an adult relationship, it's necessary to work through those trapped emotions so that they don't interfere with harmonious relationships with our partners.
We do have to work through trapped emotions, but it doesn't mean that we need to work through every single issue that has plagued us since childhood. But, again, there is a lot of work that will be necessary. Thankfully, a good relationship partner will help you do the work that's needed.
It should be clear that the negative experiences from childhood will affect our adult behavior. That's the primary reason that examination of childhood experiences and emotions associated with them is necessary.
Intimate relationships can stir up both the best and the worst in us. And I believe that one of the intimate relationships that we have is with our creator. I believe that the creator wants and has an intimate relationship with creation. I think that the divine separates into two things, then 100 things, and then an infinite number of things throughout the material universe.
Consider our development that occurs beginning at conception. We begin as a sperm and an egg joining into one thing—an embryo. At first we are one thing inside of another in the process of forming, and then at birth we separate again into two things.
We're designed to separate from and again merge with others—our friends, our families, our children, and our lovers. In a strange way we also form bonds and attachments to objects. Psychologically we merge with things and identify with things, titles, and experiences throughout our lives.
We're designed to be in intimate relationships. They are critical to our mental and emotional health from the time that we're born until we die. Yet there will always be difficulty connected with our relationships. There will be difficulty because of things we think and believe and because of our fears and insecurities. Yet we have difficulty even when we're not in relationships with others. We struggle in our own psychology to resolve confusion, doubts, fears, traumas, hurt, self-centeredness, ignorance, emotional pain, and negative energies that we encounter.
At any rate, we first develop true intimacy within the structures of our families of origin. Our experiences set the course for how our relationships are likely to go with others and within society. It's good if we left our childhood having experienced healthy intimacy within our family. If so, we likely became capable and equipped to experience intimacy in our adult lives.
However, it might have been the case that the intimacy in our childhood was shattered, inconsistent, and broken. If that was the case, we need to reach out for healing and awareness to make it so that we can have proper intimacy with others. The work involved in doing that will consist of a number of things, including communicating feelings, writing about experiences, sharing with others, and learning how to break unhealthy patterns.